What Happened to Safeway’s Private Brands?

RESTON – So we haven’t been in a Safeway in years, but go in to grab some things while traveling. And I am curious about brands, and I look to see what has happened to some of the valuable private labels that Safeway was known for.

They all seemed to be gone; sadly, the store packaging was quite un-imaginative, and all the company did was stick a Safeway logo on its store products. I could not find Cragmont nor Crown Colony, and was afraid to go in the dairy section and look for my old friend, Lucerne milk.

A dreary effort by what was once a great grocery company.

In the early 1990s, Safeway made a major effort at jazzing up the private labels, but we guess the effort fizzled and the changes in packaging just confused the consumers, and turned them off. Note to grocery folk; if you have private label packaging that is pretty classic, you need to leave it as is, and people will still buy it.

Some Safeway brands we think were/are exceptional are:

  • Crown Colony. Such an evocative name for spices, don’t you think?
  • Lucerne milk. What is better?
  • Kitchen Kraft flour
  • Town House canned goods
  • Busy Baker cookies
  • Nu-Made mayonaise
  • Cragmont soda

The above Cragmont picture is from online; see more at the following website www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

Note from 2019, seen above: A fantastic effort at Lucerne products, sold at all of the sister grocery stores of Safeway.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. I’m not sure which Safeways you have been to before writing this, but I live in Longview, WA and Lucerne is still sold at all the Safeways I have been to from here down to Portland as of November 2023… 😝

    1. Author

      good news….

  2. what about Safeway Select Eggnog? Growing up in Portland during the 60s to 90s, our family would always go buy several quarts of the best eggnog we could find.That was Carnation for many years, but their eggnog went away, then it was Senns, a regional dairy in the Portland area. But then Safeway Select came out withtheir eggnog, in the black quart carboard package. Very thick, creamy and tasty. Very unhealthy also, but you just have to enjoy sometimes! If anyone knows who made that, or is making similar please post. Thank you!

    1. Try the Southern Comfort egg nog. It’s pretty amazing.

  3. Piedmont salad dressing
    Nu-Made mayonnaise
    Party Pride chips
    Town House canned vegetables
    Manor House frozen fried chicken
    Cragmont Soda
    Crown Colony spices
    Bel-Air frozen vegetables & juices
    Oven Joy bread
    Busy Baker snack crackers & cookies
    Dairyland milk
    Lucerne milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, sliced cheese
    Verdi Italian salami & pastrami
    Snow Star Ice Cream
    Edwards Coffee
    Empress jams & jellies
    Pooch dog food
    Truly-Fine soap, bath tissue, etc .
    Scotch Buy products

    I probably forgot some!

    1. I used to shop only at Safeway and had forgotten the names of brand products that only Safeway sold. Thanks for the list, I think you nailed it!!

  4. I worked briefly at a Shasta bottling plant and they also packaged Cragmont soda.

    1. Wish I had the recipe/formula for Cragmont Collins Mix. It was in 32oz GLASS returnable bottles. Best gin mixer I ever had.

  5. Does anyone remember if Safeway sold moon pies under the name “Sweetie Pies”?

    1. I remember a Moon pie-like product called “Scooter Pie”.

    2. “Sweetie Pies” sounds vaguely familiar. Not sure if it was a Safeway brand though or another bakery.

  6. I fondly remember the Cragmont vending machines Safeway used to have. Usually positioned next to a regular Coke machines they offered the drinks at a fraction of the price. It was an appeasement item for my kids who always complained about getting dragged into the grocery store with their father.

  7. My mother used to buy the Scotch brand hotdogs.

    1. I think that was Lucky’s brand

  8. I grew up in the 1970s with Cragmont sodas. Most of them were pretty good. The cola was noticeably different from The Big 2 brands. Also, I made the mistake of asking once for chocolate soda. Gak.

    Sometimes, we were lucky enough to get the (very) slightly more upscale Shasta sodas.

    1. I too grew up in the 70s and remember the ONE time we got the chocolate soda. It was bad. The other flavors, especially the cola were good though.

  9. I’m from Canada and grew up in a very small town on Vancouver Island where Safeway was one of only 2 chain groceries. I remember that they were the only place to buy Cragmont soda…they orange,lemon lime and cream soda were good but the Cola was the best.Even better than Coke or Pepsi. Recently I had occasion to buy Cott cola and was taken back to 10 yrs old and enjoying a Cragmont cola…wow….btw,I’m 61 now.

    1. I’m also 61. Do you by any chance remember that what we now call moon pies were sold at Safeway but were called “Sweetie Pies”? I’m not sure if that’s real or I imagined it!

  10. When I was in college (late 1970s, early 1980s), Safeway was teh country’s biggest oligopoly. I owned the land, hired the farmers, owned the factories where it was processed, the trucks, the stores.

    Randall’s had Safeway brand sodas, including the unmatched Sparkling Punch, just a few years ago. Only they called it Safeway brand. It was still the same thing.

    Now they have “Refreshe” brand, which is store brand, but their fruit punch is some kind of cherry-raspberry monstrosity. Not the same thing AT ALL.

    I’d love if someone could tell me where to find something at least comparable to the original Sparkling Punch.

    1. Yup. KKR killed the company; leveraged buy out. KKR is the subject of a little-known film (and book) called Barbarians At The Gate, staring James Garner (Rockford Files), which depicts the Kraft/RJR breakup.
      Ancient history.

    2. Shasta makes a pretty good punch

  11. Manor House (frozen fried chicken & other foods)
    Party Pride (chips, pretzels, etc.)
    Snow Star Ice Cream
    Oven Joy Bread
    Verdi Italian Salami (This was the BEST.)

    1. I’m sorry to inform you Doug, but everything on your list is unhealthy.

      1. Lots of things considered unhealthy today were standard in the 70s. Hostess desserts, white bread, ice cream shops, margarine (sold as a “healthy” substitute for butter), sweet cereals, tv dinners (that at the time came in tin foil containers for oven grilling before microwaves became commonplace). Oh, and we almost never wore bicycle helmets for non-motorized vehicles. Those who did at the time were considered nerds with overprotective parents. Seat belts were not even mandatory yet, nor child seats for kids over age 4. Airbags did not exist yet either – I survived a crash at age 5 in the front seat (1975), since I was wearing my seatbelt and there were no airbags.

        1. lol I was the one always in a helmet! My dad was a firefighter so it was drilled in our heads early about seat belts and helmets and head injuries. Now that I’m older I understand why but as a kid it’s rough 🤣

  12. I really miss my Cragmont Sparkling Punch 🙁
    If anyone knows where I can get some, PLEASE tell me!!! Someone up there said Grocery Outlet… I’ll check that lead out, but I have a feeling it’s a lost cause!

    1. Try pink lady punch
      cranberry juice
      pineapple juice or grapefruit juice
      ginger ale, chilled
      cranberries, optional for garnish
      Start by slowly stirring the cranberry juice with the sugar until it’s dissolved.
      Add the pineapple juice and chill until it’s time to serve.
      Pour into punch bowl or pitcher and add ginger ale.

  13. Wow, memories. I went to work at SW when I was 20. Back then, SW was in 6 countries, including Saudi Arabia as mentioned above – but those were co-owned by a shiekh/sheikhs so didn’t loose ther name after the LBO that drastically reduced the size of the company, and why there are regional store names.
    I’d forgotten about some of these brands. Snowstar was the “cheap stuff”, once told a customer the Lucerne was on sale cheaper but she said she liked the ice crystals in Snowstar.
    Cragmont grapefruit soda was the best.
    Found this site while searching for a more recent brand – it included natural laundry & paper products.I think it had a yellow sun. anyone remember that name?

  14. I remember snowstar ice cream in the blue carton.

  15. What Memories! I remember the Neapolitan Lucerne ice milk it was the best. I used to sit in front of the TV every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and watch the Creature Feature eating my Neapolitan ice cream mixed with milk. It was the best! As far as the Cragmont sodas go we only had those when we went to the lake for special occasions. It was always special. Love all the comments it is so cool.

  16. I once drank like 14 cans of Hawaiian punch as a kid and projectile vomited red against a wall.

    Good times.

  17. I recall the Scotch Buy line when Safeway had some stores in the Des Moines, IA USA area in the late 1970s. This was when generic food items were becoming popular; some supermarket stores sold items with just the names of the items on the packaging and such labeling as “Developed to create a greater value”. The color of the lettering was dark blue and the lettering was often stenciled. Fortune magazine carried an article about the trend; it called Scotch Buy “a wolf in sheep skin” if I’m not mistaken.

  18. I loved the grapefruit! Big K’s grapefruit does not compare.

  19. There were several I can remember when I worked there in the 80’s:
    Crown Colony (spices)
    Scotch Buy (cheapo brand canned goods)
    Mrs Wrights (bread)
    Maison Blanc (wine)
    Bel Air (frozen food)
    Town House (regular canned goods)
    Edwards (coffee)
    Cragmont (soda)

    1. I worked with them from July 1970 till October 2005. (35yrs)
      Empress Jellies & Jams
      Blossom Time Milk
      Gardenside Canned Vegetables & Tomatoes. The second choice to the Town House brand.
      Great Escape’s (1st Safeway ) 1977 Microwavable Frozen Dinners & they were good!
      Truly Fine Bath & Facial Tissue in 4 matching colors, White, Pink, Yellow, Blue & Printed Paper Towels.
      Pooch Dog Food

  20. Does anyone remember a vanilla, chocolate dipped ice milk bar they sold? Not ice CREAM, because apparently when you have 8 kids, you can’t afford the cream, but you can afford the milk. I sure was glad when I grew up and got a job and could afford real ice cream. I imagine my parents were too!

    1. My parents were especially “thrifty” and bought Imitation Ice Milk. Does anyone remember that? And what was it really that they were getting? Mom also worked as a cashier at Safeway in the early 1960’s and brought that stuff home. Needless to say, us kids didn’t much care for it.

  21. My favorite was the grapefruit soda from cragmont

  22. Anyone remember Safeway’s econo brand Scotch Buy? How about the coffee grinder Safeway had in the coffee section? I remember shopping with my mom when I was a kid and eating the left over coffee grounds at the bottom of the machine!

    1. Wow, amazing! I did the same thing, 1960, Albuquerque. I would get a hand-full of grounds from the over-spill drawer, and inhale the aroma like an addict. I’m still hooked on that aroma, but now I home-roast.

  23. The best equivalent to Cragmont is Krogers “Big K” brand. Safeways Refresh is aweful.

  24. Jay Couk, thanks so much for refreshing my memory on the Bel Air frozen foods brand! I knew they had their own brand, but for the life of me couldn’t remember the name!

  25. I’m originally from Prince George, Canada.

    Safeway was my mom’s choice for shopping and house-brand products such as Cragmont and Lucerne were routine purchases.

    Yes, the pictures very much bring back fond memories and the odd tear.

    I currently work in Riyadh, and believe it or not, there are Safeways everywhere in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia. They have the red “S” but are called, TAMIMI. Needless to say, the old house-brands are long gone.

    1. Yes, Safeway set up those stores for Tamimi. I was working for Safeway in their El Paso division when they offered $$$ to go there to assist the setup. A few years later, late ’80’s, I was in Riyadh (as a DoD civilian) several times and visited some of their stores. Amazing. Safeway’s Tom Collins 32oz was the best gin mixer! Those Saudi Safeways were well-stocked with Safeway brands with Arabic/English packaging.

  26. I haven’t seen Safeway in decades. I live in Oklahoma, and when Safeway pulled out of the sales territory, it was replaced by a local start up chain called Homeland, which sank a few years later, and the name is now used by another chain, Country Mart, for some of its stores. I miss Safeway, because My family used to live in the SF Bay Area during the 70s, and having it in Oklahoma was a homey bit of continuity. I loved the Cragmont brand, even its Dr. Pepper clone, The Skipper. I know some people get snotty about the Pepper copies, but some are good.

    1. Dr. Skipper was amazing, and I am one of those snotty Dr. Pepper drinkers. Dr. Skipper was BETTER than the real thing. I haven’t had it since 1998…. breaks my heart.

  27. As a boy, I thought the name “Cragmont” was so funny because of the word’s menacing overtones. Not the scenic and happy “mountain”, “peak” or “summit”, but the dark-sounding “crag”. Evil Lord of the Rings creatures live in crags. Climbers fall to their deaths from crags. Say it and tremble. Crag! I do miss the cheap, tasty soda, though!

  28. Grocery Outlet carries Cragmont sodas. Just bought the cola on 10-11-14 in San Diego county

  29. I live in San Jose, CA and the other day I was in a downtown Grocery Outlet. While there, I came across 12 packs of Cragmont Sodas. (4 different flavors to choose from.) So if you want Cragmont Sodas, try any Grocery Outlet. Call first before you go though to make sure they have them in stock.

  30. Jay…we always had the Cragmont around too. Safeway was the leading chain those days, and all the brands sort of omnipresent. I do remember the Bel Air brand, as my grandparents always had it around, and their house and farm on the Rappahannock was named Bel Air.

  31. We too always seemed to have a case of assorted Cragmont sodas on hand, as my mother’s stash of Pepsi was strictly off limits. Bel Air was Safeway’s proprietary brand of frozen foods, I seem to recall. And yes, it is a small world indeed.

  32. Those simpler times made life seem magical to me. Now it just seems like marketing.

  33. Do You Remember Page Chipper Ice Cream? I Believe It Was Only Sold At Safeway.

    1. I loved Page Glencliff Chipper Ice Milk. Round package. Yellow ish. Yummy! Not sure if it was mainly Oklahoma, I worked at Safeway in Tulsa. I think the dairy was in west Tulsa.

  34. I went into Safeway today looking for the Craigmont sodas but didn’t see any. I did see a brand called Refresh. Are they taking the place of Craigmont now and are they as good? Thank you!

  35. Safeway Select is the branding they started using for several of their “premium” products while I was working there in the 90’s and continues today. They still have Lucerne, but I think that is the only old brand that still exists. Look at the bottom third of this page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safeway_Inc. ) for a long list of their current store brands.

  36. Lucerne is still Safeway’s dairy brand.

  37. I fondly remember the Safeway brands as well, particularly the Cragmont sodas. It was always a treat to go over to my grandmother’s house, open the refrigerator to get a drink, and have the whole top shelf full of a huge variety of soda flavors! My favorites were always the Sparkling Punch and the Cream Soda. The label in the picture above really brought back memories of the 1970s!!

    Didn’t Safeway also have their own brand of frozen foods?

    1. Exactly the same memories–my Grandma lived by a Safeway and got all the Cragmont Sodas for us. She also had little oyster crackers on supply for our soup (probably Campbell’s).

    2. For our little league games in late 60s an early 70s, the parents rotated bringing after game drinks. Almost always was Cragmont assortment. Great memories!

  38. Dollar Tree has Busy Baker cracker products.

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